Somewhere Trouble Don't Go

The best Texas albums of 2009...or what we could squeeze in.

Various Artists, Keep Your Soul: A Tribute to Doug Sahm: It's hard to believe it's been a decade since Sir Doug passed away, but the son of San Antonio still hasn't gone anywhere. This compilation rallies everyone from peers (Delbert McClinton, Terry Allen), family members (sons Shawn and Shandon), former bandmates (Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers) and admirers (Los Lobos, The Gourds) for this trip back to groover's paradise. Choice cuts include L.A. garage-rock vato Little Willie G's raspy "She's About a Mover," Dave Alvin's explosive "Dynamite Woman" and Alejandro Escovedo little-heard Sahm co-write "Too Little Too Late." Keep Your Soul, meanwhile, is neither.

Little Joe Washington, Texas Fire Line: Whether you've seen him 100 times or only once, it's always amazing that Little Joe Washington can make such a big sound come out of such a small frame. Texas Fire Line expertly translates the bluesman's live dynamism — if you haven't been to Tuesdays at Boondocks yet, what the hell are you waiting for? — onto disc, setting up the softer side he reveals on Sam Cooke's "You Send Me" to get blown away by the guitar maelstroms of "I'll Go Crazy" and "Ike."

Young Mammals, Carrots: Loaded with wide-eyed wonder and psychedelic whimsy, the Houston indie-rockers' long-awaited debut full-length didn't disappoint. In fact, it probably could have been a little bit longer. Poppy but rocking, its ten songs only grew more impressive the bigger the stage, which the Mammals proved with a command performance at Free Press Houston's August Summerfest.

Honorable Mention

Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel, Willie and the Wheel; Steve Earle, Townes; Guy Clark, Some Days the Song Writes You; Wild Moccasins, Microscopic Metronomes; Tody Castillo, Windhorse; Robert Ellis, Robert Ellis; Betty Soo, heat sin water skin; Runaway Sun, The Bridge; Randy Weeks, Going My Way; Houston Symphony, Zemlinsky: "Lyric Symphony"; Lyle Lovett, Natural Forces; The Krayolas, Long Leaf Pine (No Smack Gum); Gene Watson, A Taste of the Truth; The Tontons, The Tontons; Crossing Togo, Of Love, Scorn & Insecurity; listenlisten, Hymns from Rhodesia; Hell City Kings, Road to Damnation; Something Fierce, There Are No Answers; Springfield Riots, Say When EP; Leela James, Let's Do It Again CHRIS GRAY

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